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A common reason people return to college is to advance their education and their careers. It was the main reason for Jason Herman, BSN, RN, too. But he didn’t just advance in his career. He reached new heights — literally.

His degree from Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation served as a stepping stone to landing his dream job as a flight nurse last year.

In 2018, Herman graduated from Edson College’s RN to BSN program. He was already a registered nurse, but in order to work at his desired hospital, he needed to earn a Bachelor of Science in nursing.

“After graduating from Edson College, I worked as a staff nurse in the emergency department at Augusta University Medical Center (AUMC), a Level I trauma center,” Herman said.

He continued pursuing his education, this time enrolling in a master’s degree program. It was during his time at AUMC that he learned they’d planned to start a helicopter emergency medical service program. He applied, and in 2021 was offered a position on the inaugural flight crew.

He’s since graduated with a Master of Science in nursing and had the opportunity to compete in a clinical challenge at the Air Medical Transport Conference.

“It’s a clinical-based interaction where teams of two respond to challenging situations that test clinical knowledge, critical thinking skills, teamwork, communication and situational awareness. We competed in the scene flight track against 25 other teams. My coworker and I placed first in the competition and were invited back this year to defend our title,” he said.

Herman recently spoke of his BSN journey, the impact it has had on him, and the importance of going after your dreams.

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On the value of completing an RN to BSN degree program:

” [It] helped me achieve my current job by serving as a stepping stone in the path to further education. Without a BSN, I would not have qualified to work at Augusta University Medical Center, due to their pursuit to obtain magnet status, which requires nurses to be bachelor-prepared. My position at AUMC gave me the opportunity to become a flight nurse with the AirCare program.” [Aspiring flight nurses should check the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing Certified Flight RN details].

A faculty member with experience as a military flight nurse helped Jason set his course: 

In a history of nursing class, “My instructor was a flight nurse in the military during her active-duty career. She shared photos of flights she had taken and her work environment. This solidified my dream to become a flight nurse.”

On working full-time while enrolled in an RN to BSN program:

While it can be “difficult to work full time while being a full-time student,” Herman says, “the completion of the RN to BSN program will open doors for you that you never thought were possible.” One of the biggest challenges he faced was pursuing his BSN while his wife was in medical school. Herman recalls, “I was working full time as an emergency department staff nurse and going to school full time. Trying to provide for my family emotionally and financially while pursuing a bachelor’s degree was no easy task.” Fortunately, “ASU allowed me to obtain my degree while still having a manageable work-life balance.”

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